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Claremont Colleges

Citizenship

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Civic Dignity And Meaningful Political Participation, Melissa Mahoney Smith Jan 2017

Civic Dignity And Meaningful Political Participation, Melissa Mahoney Smith

CGU Theses & Dissertations

This dissertation looks at how enhanced political participation opportunities can increase individual liberty and improve public-sector reform efforts. It blends political theory with contemporary concerns for individual well-being and government accountability. To do this, several research methodologies are used, including normative, qualitative process-tracing, and quantitative analysis.

First, the dissertation draws insights from ancient and modern political philosophy and the political thought and example of Jane Addams in 19th Century Chicago. It begins with Josiah Ober’s work on civic dignity, which he defines as “equal high standing” among citizens, marked by “non-infantilization and non-humiliation.” This definition is a useful starting ...